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Ethics in Social Science Research Special difficulties in Criminal Justice & Criminology.

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Presentation on theme: "Ethics in Social Science Research Special difficulties in Criminal Justice & Criminology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethics in Social Science Research Special difficulties in Criminal Justice & Criminology

2 General rules  First, do no harm Physical or psychological  Privacy:Anonymity and confidentiality  The use of deception  Analysis and reporting

3 General principles  Voluntary participation  Informed consent: components include general explanation of the study, methods, privacy issues, voluntary participation, right to withdraw at any time, who to call with questions. See p. 65  Special populations: children, prisoners

4 IRBs  Institutional Review Boards  Federal and state funds require approval from the appropriate IRBs (agencies, universities)

5 Exceptions  Educational settings involving normal educational practices  Use of educational tests, surveys, interviews, observation of public behavior, unless (1) subjects can be identified and (2) disclosure of responses could be damaging

6 Exceptions  Tests, surveys, interviews or observation of public behavior if (1) subjects are public officials, or (2) results are confidential  Record research if records are publicly available or if data is collected and used in such a way that subjects cannot be identified

7 Exceptions  Agency research, evaluating service programs, procedures, provision of benefits  Although these are exempt categories, generally researchers will need to consult IRBs to obtain exemptions from full review  See graduate website for Southeast requirements

8 Harmful studies  Tuskegee Institute’s study of syphilis  Study of stuttering  Psychologically harmful  Stanford prison simulation experiment  Milgram’s studies

9 Specific problems in the field of CJ  Collecting information from active criminals—there could be danger to others (retaliation)  Also to victims, especially domestic violence victims  Collecting information could lead to danger to researchers (ex: Missouri COPS study, bystander research)

10 Specific problems  Maintaining confidentiality— observing criminal activity and not reporting might be obstructing justice  Federal legislation protects legitimate research, staff have immunity from prosecution for maintaining confidentiality

11 Specific problems  Staff misbehavior—if you are studying criminal justice personnel, they have been promised confidentiality  Example of police study of unconstitutional searches

12 Specific problems  Observational studies  Observing illegal activities could lead to potential danger if discovered  Danger of getting drawn into illegal behavior  Probably better to be upfront

13 Specific problems  Interventions that lead to crime displacement  Mandatory reporting  Withholding treatment from a control group found to be beneficial  What if treatment appears to be harmful (hormone treatment and menopausal subjects

14 Specific problems  Mandatory reporting (i.e., child abuse)  TX study  Other studies  Tearoom trade study  Zimbardo study  Book examples

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